Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be set to replace David de Gea this summer in a shocking twist, according to respected journalist Duncan Castles.
Castles, who is a trusted source for Manchester United news, believes Solskjaer is on the lookout for a new keeper. The Norwegian is apparently eager to find a shotstopper who is comfortable with the ball at his feet and is comfortable playing behind a high back-line.
As incredible a keeper as De Gea is, he has always been criticized for his distribution. It is the one weakness that became particularly obvious during the rough patch he endured towards the end of last season.
Solskjaer though, is eager to change tactics and try to make United play a higher line. If that were to happen, he would need a keeper who is comfortable on the ball and shifting play. To achieve that, it might involve making the incredibly tough choice to let de Gea leave and sign a new player who fits the bill. De Gea’s future has been up in the air anyway, but United have been trying to hold on to him. Now however, it appears to be a whole different ball game.
“Solskjaer’s looking for a goalkeeper who is more comfortable with the ball at his feet,” Castles told The Transfer Window podcast.“I don’t think De Gea is bad in that respect, but he’s not at the same level as Ederson is, for example, and he’s certainly not a goalkeeper who particularly likes playing behind a high line.“So it seems Solskjaer is saying ‘if I have to change, I’m gonna use this as an opportunity to change tactically and sign a goalkeeper who would be comfortable playing the ball from the back and playing behind a high line.’
While Duncan talked about Solskjaer’s idea for a tactical change, he also brought up a very pertinent question – do United have the defenders to pull it off? It has been five years but the club still haven’t found solid replacements for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling somehow managed to get new and improved long-term contracts despite being either consistently injured, or consistently below-par. A change in tactics with a defense like that could be too big a risk to take.
“You can see the reasoning there and you can see that playing into the type of football that Solskjaer played in Norway. My question mark, though, would be – do you really want to play that way with the defenders Manchester United have?”“Can you really see playing a high line with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw – who is probably one of the worst defenders to have played Champions League football in recent seasons in terms of positional sense – do you want to ask him to do that just by changing a new goalkeeper?” he added.“I think if Solskjaer wants to do that, he needs to make changes throughout the defensive line for it to be a realistic solution to the way Manchester United play.“Manchester United have played that deep line because the previous managers and current manager don’t have faith in the defenders to deal with fast strikers and to play the ball from the back, and also to cover for their weaknesses in midfield.“So it’s quite a drastic solution that Solskjaer’s proposing there.”
United have been shockingly slow off the mark in the transfer window so far, considering the disaster of a season they just endured. If signings aren’t made, they will definitely fall even further behind their rivals next season.